Nigeria northern youths ask buhari, atiku to shelve presidential ambition – allafrica.com electricity recruitment 2015

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"We had advised him (Buhari) to look for a younger person who has the integrity like him to run for the presidency. Anybody above 70 years of age should give way to the younger generation," the group, which last year issued an ultimatum to Nigerians of South-east origin to leave the North, said.

The Northern youth coalition explained that the advice became imperative in view of the fact that Buhari and Abubakar who are both in their 70s "participated in debates that gave birth to the current national arrangement that is largely acknowledged as having failed our national aspirations".

"Frustrated young Nigerians, having paid their dues in the national development efforts, have been manifestly left to suffer from the suffocating consequences of the prevailing exclusive and defeatist leadership selection process that has been imposed on the country over the years, by succeeding ruling elite.

"It is time they formed a rallying point from which younger Nigerians can make a strong demand for a new political order to usher in a generational power shift as reparation for past marginalisation in the nation’s political leadership," the group said.

The push for the generational shift in Nigeria’s leadership came just as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) acknowledged Monday that the issues raised by its aggrieved members, who form the defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc of the ruling party, were genuine and needed to be addressed.

The group, which left the then ruling PDP at the height of its crisis in 2013 to fuse with the APC coalition, had accused the latter and the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of marginalising and maltreating their members, despite the role they played in bringing APC to power in 2015.

However, addressing reporters Monday shortly after an hour-long meeting with the aggrieved group at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, the Deputy National Chairman of the APC, Senator Shauib Lawan, said the party considered their grievances legitimate and something that should be looked into.

While explaining the apparent delay in addressing their grievances, Lawan said: "They requested a meeting within seven days and before the seven days expired, I called them and they were not ready to come, they said we should shift the meeting till today, which we did.

"So, we are listening to them, we have listened to them and we are taking up their matter seriously, we will address it. We don’t ignore our people except if you don’t send your grievances to the party. But if you send them, we will always address your grievances."

Speaking on the outcome of the much-anticipated peace talks, Baraje said his group will remain with the ruling APC, but discussions were still at their infancy, noting however that the nPDP was satisfied with the response of the APC leadership.

Continuing, Oshiomhole said: "We are at a critical juncture in our country and over the next couple of months, the political environment will be heated up when all the aspirants and candidates would have emerged and our party is expected to, as the governing party, lead by example.

"I believe that after the historic amalgamation of the four and half parties that now form the APC, it is enough for us to have welded into a party and provide the kind of leadership that Nigerians expect from a political party that is based on the principle of social democracy which was why we carefully choose the name ‘Progressives’.

"It is not a secret that we have our own fair share of internal challenges. I believe that there is nothing wrong in parties having internal challenges, but what matters is a leadership that has the capacity to manage those challenges and encourage internal democracy and evolve a style of leadership that is based on inclusion rather than exclusion.

"We must strengthen the process of the bottom-up approach to decision making so that when we talk about a party position, it will be one in which party leaders and members will say, yes, we participated in the process that led to this decision.

"It is my hope that we move beyond creating a platform that is simply there for election purpose, just like a public taxi. It should also be a platform to continue to engage all those who are elected on the platform of the party and ensure that what they do and how they do it is in line with the manifesto and the core values that bind the party together.

"In the real world, you get what you are able to negotiate. In a democracy, we must have the skills to negotiate, skills to persuade, skills to reach a compromise, and as they say, the strength of the people in power is measured by the way they deal with those who are completely powerless.

"The gains of democracy are the promises to protect the weak. Working with leaders like you, I believe we can build a functional, democratic mass base – a membership driven and membership funded political party that is accountable to its members.

"That way, Nigerians will begin to see the difference between the APC and other parties. We must begin to consciously work towards building a strong party. So, if a reactionary element wants to join the APC with his antecedents, and we feel that his values and actions do not conform with the core values of social democracy, we should be able to engage such a person and say, Mr. Applicant, maybe you might look elsewhere.

"We have seen it from the PDP that because that bond was simply based on money, and the philosophy was about sharing the money, once access to the money was disconnected, the centre could not hold. So, there are huge lessons to be learnt from that – that money as a glue to bind a party together is not sustainable.

"You know that one of the challenges we have at the moment is the problem between the Executive and the National Assembly. Again, I believe that the party should not be a spectator in moments like that and wait for things to get out of control.

"Party business is not a casual business and a political party is not an unorganised organisation. It is a formally structured organisation based on rules and those rules provide us with the basis to be able to interrogate those involved in any contestations and realise that at the end of the day, you can debate and realise that common goal we all subscribe to."